Wednesday, June 04, 2008

British Columbia Attorney General orders prosecutor for Canadian Mormon Polygamist group

The Canadian Press reports:
Public concerns about older men marrying young girls and men with multiple wives at the B.C. polygamous community of Bountiful played a strong part in the decision to review whether charges of sexual abuse and polygamy are warranted against members of the religious group, says B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal.

Oppal said Monday that despite two earlier legal opinions weighing in against criminal charges, he directed the criminal justice branch to appoint a special prosecutor to look into allegations of misconduct in Bountiful, located near Creston in southeastern B.C.

"I want to do what's the right thing," said Oppal, a former judge. "I really want to do the right thing."

He said he constantly receives messages from British Columbians who want the government to take action at Bountiful.

"I take the public's view into consideration," said Oppal.

About 800 people live in Bountiful, where members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints live a polygamist lifestyle in a secluded agricultural community minutes away from the logging and ranching community of Creston and the U.S. border at Idaho.
Winston Blackmore, one of the religious leaders in Bountiful, did not respond to a request for an interview Monday.

In past interviews with The Canadian Press, he's said what happened in Texas was wrong and he hoped it wouldn't happen in Canada.

"I imagine that in Creston there's different cases of abuse, but I don't think they'd go arrest everyone in Creston," he said, referring to the nearest B.C. community to Bountiful.

Another member of the sect said abuse should be dealt with - on an individual basis.

Read the entire article here

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